If you grew up watching Mary-Kate and Ashley films and TV programmes (and you're anything like me) you probably harboured secret desires to be a twin. Obviously the chances of that happening once you're born are, well, non-existent - so the next best thing would be to have twins, right?
Let's assess your chances.
According to the most recent data on births from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the frequency of multiple births is sadly (or happily, if you think more than one baby would be hell. on. earth.) decreasing.
In 2017, 10,462 women gave birth to twins, out of a total of 679,106 births. That equals a 1.5% chance of having twins - or 15.8 in every 1,000 births. So not super common, but not ridiculously unlikely either.
Just 154 women gave birth to triplets in 2017 (the most recent year of data available), which equates to a 0.02% chance of birthing three kids at once. And thank goodness, because jeez that would be hectic.
From there it just gets rarer, with only 5 mothers having had quadruplets or above in 2017, giving you a 0.007% chance of having four or more babies from one pregnancy. Interestingly, that's just about as rare as your chances of being struck by lightning in your lifetime (which is thought to be around a 1 in 12,000 chance, or 0.008%).
As the ONS data indicates, the frequency of multiple births is decreasing each year, with 2017 being the third consecutive year that the numbers dropped. In 2016 there was a 15.9% chance of having multiple babies, while in 2015 the likelihood was 16.1%.
Although most multiple births occur naturally, many also occur because of fertility treatment where more than one embryo is placed inside the mother's uterus. Interestingly, however, the number of mothers over the age of 45 who had multiple births decreased in 2017 to its lowest level since 2006, perhaps suggesting that women are having fertility treatment earlier.
So there you are, you're now armed with the stats. If you fancy it, go off and make babies, and see whether you're one of the 15.8 in every thousand to strike double and get twins.
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